With the last year of the first decade of this century now complete, here's how each team fared over the past ten seasons.
Teams are sorted by average regular-season wins, with ties counted as half a win. "Playoff Success" is simply Playoff Wins plus First-Round Byes. This rewards teams for "advancing" in the playoffs, whether they won there or not. This year, for example, the Bengals and Chargers both went 0-1 in the playoffs, but the Chargers made it to the Divisional Round since they had a first-round bye. In my mind, that makes their season more successful than Cincinnati's. You may disagree, and if so, feel free to ignore this column. There's really not much difference between this and Playoff Wins anyway.
Standard Deviation is the standard deviation (duh) of regular season wins for that team. Teams are ranked from most erratic (St. Louis, which started the decade in dominant fashion and ended as the worst team in the league) to most consistent (Buffalo, which was basically the same boring, C- team almost every year of the decade).
The Patriots are pretty clearly the team of the decade, finishing just behind the Colts in average wins and in first place in almost everything else. Indianapolis did have a remarkable span, though, making the playoffs nine times in ten years. (For comparison, Atlanta has made the playoffs nine times, total, in their entire 44-year history).
Surprisingly high team: Denver. The Broncos made the playoffs only four times in the '00s, and won only one playoff game, so it's easy to forget that only five teams won more regular-season games this decade.
Surprisingly low team: Well, none, really -- all the teams at the bottom of the list look like they belong there. If I had to pick one, it would be Houston -- they've been .500 or better three years in a row. I thought that would have boosted them a little, especially considering they were only around for eight years.
Team with the most playoff success, relative to regular season success: Really, it's New England, which has way more playoff success than anyone else despite being "only" second in regular-season wins and third in playoff berths. But look at Oakland -- seventh in playoff success, 28th in regular-season wins! They had three real good teams at the beginning of the decade, got to a Super Bowl, and then the bottom dropped completely.
Team with the least playoff success, relative to regular season success: Denver, as noted. Green Bay would be a good choice too -- six playoff berths, but only three wins (plus one first-round bye).
The Jets and Ravens tied for most Wild Card berths with four each. Not surprising, since they played most of the decade in the same divisions as the Colts and Patriots, the teams that finished one-two in division championships. (The Ravens were in the AFC Central and the Colts in the AFC East until the league thankfully realigned in 2002.)
|NFL Standings, 2000-09|
|Team||Avg. Wins||Wild Cards||Div. Champs||Total Playoff Berths||First-Round Byes||Post. Wins||Playoff Success||Conf. Champs||Super Bowl Wins||Std. Dev.||Rank|
|* Houston entered the league in 2002.|